Targeting nature on a Texas shootout

| May 29, 2003

Targeting nature on a Texas shootout

Texas summons up images of cowboys and longhorn cattle, Western boots and horses, Stetsons, vast ranches, oil and gas — and that Texan drawl. After my first visit there, though, other images also come to mind: an apparently infinite flatness; endless, unzoned urban sprawl; ...

Big-mouth bulbuls time it just right

| May 15, 2003

Big-mouth bulbuls time it just right

Second of two parts Imagine, if you can, an opinion poll of Japanese forest plants. Question: which bird is most important to you? The brown-eared bulbul, or hiyodori, would have to take a bow. On sighting this bird, naturalists may disparagingly remark, “Oh, just ...

Feathered friends of the forest

| May 1, 2003

Feathered friends of the forest

In a passive way, plants have got birds sussed. They use them, abuse them (ever seen a thrush drunk on fermenting apples?) and mess with their digestive systems. Birds are willing pawns, though; brightly colored flowers and gaudy berries send a simple signal to ...

A natural sense of belonging

| Apr 17, 2003

A natural sense of belonging

I pass through the Heidelberg area of Baden-Buerttemberg in southwest Germany several times a year, and though I am transient there, I feel that I have roots — roots that come from a natural connectedness with the earth. The several thousand hectares of land ...

Mistletoe magic

| Apr 3, 2003

Mistletoe magic

I am back in my local wood in Hokkaido yet again. From one spot, I can see the fluffed-out form of a Ural owl sunning itself at the entrance of its day roost, while looking in another direction and a little higher in the ...

| Mar 20, 2003

If you go down to the woods . . .

As I enter the wood, I cast a glance to the arching canopy above, my ears ever alert for the sounds of the season. I have observed this wood through the turning of the years, and as I step inside between the towering trees ...

Fun guys can always find long-lasting allies

| Mar 6, 2003

Fun guys can always find long-lasting allies

A coworker of mine in the Galapagos takes great delight in corny cracks and groan-inducing jokes, but as learning aids they are indeed memorable. Take his way of teaching the partnership involved in the lichen lifestyle and where they live. With apologies to Ron ...

Wild frontier in the land of fire and ice

Mar 2, 2003

Wild frontier in the land of fire and ice

Hokkaido is a rough-cut northern diamond, both in shape and in its hidden natural riches — as well as the sparkle of snow and ice of its long Siberian winters. Lying between Sakhalin and Honshu, Hokkaido’s climate, culture and natural characteristics lean northward. In ...

How to label all life, and lichen?

| Feb 20, 2003

How to label all life, and lichen?

I am an inveterate binocular user, rarely going anywhere without a pair. They are useful not merely for enjoying scenery, and birds and mammals in their natural settings, but also for the odd peregrine falcon perched incongruously atop an urban high-rise, or for admiring ...

Delving deeper into the snows

| Feb 6, 2003

Delving deeper into the snows

At the end of my column last week, there I was on the Antarctic Peninsula pondering the pink hue of “watermelon snow” and wondering where had I heard about colored snow before. Eventually the fuzzy memory of a ridiculous refrain came back to me; ...